Voices STD (Stuff to Do)—February 22, 2008

By Ben Rossi

In honor of the 80th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, this week’s STD features every movie—save the new ones that everyone knows about—that you could possibly want to see in the next six days.

Friday / February 22

Tonight the Music Box screens Casablanca, which really needs no description if you are a member of the human race. (3733 North Southport Avenue, 9:45 p.m., $9.25)

Landmark Century Cinema offers the rare opportunity to see all five 2007 Oscar nominees for Best Animated Short. Highlights include an animated documentary about a teen who snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room to do an interview, a story about a priest who tries to sell an old man a machine he claims will assure his salvation, and an animated version of Peter and the Wolf. (2828 North Clark Street, 7:00 pm, $9.50)

Akira Kurosawa’s meditative domestic drama, Ikiru, is a radical departure from the epic style of The Seven Samurai; it could be called Kurosawa’s Wild Strawberries. Takashi Shimura delivers a brilliantly understated performance as a government employee diagnosed with cancer. (Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, 8 p.m., $4 for students)

Saturday / February 23

Described as a Super-8 “B-movie” horror by Chicago Filmmakers, Beach Beast is a bizarre little movie that is, to quote the Filmmakers’ blurb, “less linear than many attempts at non-narrative film.” That’s an accomplishment in itself. Unravel the mystery of Beach Beast tonight. (5243 North Clark Street, 8 p.m., $8)

It’s There Will Be Blood—but replace “Blood” with “Rootin’-Tootin’ Wild West Romance.” Boom Town is a 1940 Clark Gable/Spencer Tracy vehicle about two wildcats-turned–oil prospectors who war over the affections of a pretty young thing played by Claudette Colbert. The tagline—“Where Men are Rough and Tough…and Like Their Women the Same Way”—gives you some idea of the raw camp potential. (4901 West Irving Park Road, 8 p.m., $5)

Sunday / February 24

Music Box offers up another gem with a screening of 1944’s The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek directed by the Judd Apatow of his day, Preston Surges. Miracle tells the story of a girl who goes to a party for G.I.s heading off to the front and wakes up knocked up and married. But she can’t remember who the lucky guy is. (3733 North Southport Avenue, 11:30 a.m., $9.25)

The Gene Siskel Film Center presents Here, an award-winning 2003 Croatian import. The film gives us a number of different, interlocking dramas in miniature, each illustrating in a different sense that all human effort is futile. Inspiring stuff, that. (164 North State Street, 3:15 p.m., $7 for students)

Monday / February 25

Doc Films hosts Rediscovering American Cinema, a symposium on film preservation and scholarship chaired by the University’s own Tom Gunning and Dave Kehr, and Library of Congress preservationist Mike Mashon. Come for the panel, and stay for the screening of Cecil B. Demille’s The Golden Bed, a 1925 melodrama starring Lillian Rich. (Max Palevsky Cinema, 7 p.m., free)

Tuesday / February 26

Doc strikes again with a screening of Jacque Tati’s Playtime, a film that ostensibly tries for comedy but which, more than anything, brings out the confusion and alienation of urban living. Tati’s signature protagonist, Monsieur Hulot, has to contact an American official in Paris but ends up lost with a bunch of American tourists amidst the maze of modern architecture and technology. (Max Palevsky, 7 p.m., $4)

Wednesday / February 27

Told with astounding cinematic lushness, Mikhail Kalatazov’s 1957 film The Cranes Are Flying tells the simple and moving story of two lovers in 1941 Moscow who are ripped apart by war. One of the masterworks of post-Stalin Russian cinema, Cranes was an international sensation when it was released, winning the 1957 Palme d’Or at Cannes. (Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, 8 p.m., $4 for students)

Louis Malle’s Zazie dans le Metro, playing at the Siskel tonight, transforms a child’s first trip on the Paris Metro into a wild visual thrill-ride. Malle perfectly evokes the sensational, imaginative nature of childhood experience. (164 North State Street, 6 p.m., $7 for students)

Thursday / February 28

Come see all five 2007 Oscar nominees for Best Live Action Short at the Landmark. Films include The Tonto Woman, about a cattle rustler who meets a reclusive woman who was held captive for years by Mohave Indians; Il Supplente, a high school comedy; and Tanghi Argentini, about a man who has to learn to dance the tango in two weeks. (2828 North Clark Street, 9:30 p.m., $9.50)